An interview about the implementation of Reportheldwith Uwe Hekler, IT Manager at Einhell China
After Reportheld has been working daily for quality controls at Einhell’s suppliers in China for over three years, we looked together at the beginning of the cooperation, but also at new perspectives for the future.
groupXS : Mr. Hekler, please tell us briefly what you use Reportheld for.
Heckler : We use Reportheld to inspect our products in quality assurance. We have around 300 factories and 50 of our own inspectors on duty here in China. Depending on the order quantity, a certain sample size is then determined and checked. We currently have two inspections per inspector every day, i.e. 100 inspections a day. This creates terabytes of data. That is mainly due to the large number of pictures that we take with Reportheld to document the quality check.
groupXS : And how was the application accepted by your employees?
Heckler : The application has been very well accepted in principle. Why is that? On the one hand, we were pioneers in our industry and the first to carry out quality controls with the iPad. On the other hand, the application saves us a lot of work. The inspector had previously received the documents as an e-mail with a PDF attachment, then they had to be printed out in the factory. Afterward, he went through the checkpoints, made his notes and then maybe did the whole thing again with the second inspection. In the evening at the hotel, he then started to create his inspection report with Microsoft Word. He also took a lot of photos that needed to be uploaded, looked through, sorted and inserted. Now the inspector has the advantage that the moment he processes the last check in the factory and presses ok, the work is really done. He is therefore much more mobile, more independent and faster with Reportheld.
groupXS : What was the greatest challenge for you in your digitization initiative?
Heckler : To be honest: At the beginning, we misjudged the requirements for our project. Although we had a lot of data in the system already, we then realized that the data was there, but not usable. What was missing were the relationships between all of these records. These references were not stored in the system and had to be worked out first. But this work has now been carried out. We have thus brought our data to a level that is almost unique in our industry. The vast majority of companies in our environment is actually still sitting on mountains of paper in this regard. In order to find out how things went last year, the reports often have to be worked through in the archive and, on this basis, statistics have to be created in Microsoft Excel. With Reportheld this is now practically automatic, but the database must first be available. In this respect, the effort has paid off.
groupXS : And how will the data be used afterward?
Heckler : We have a lot of parties involved in the process: Inspection instructions are created by the technicians in China and Germany, they have to be controlled and corrected depending on what content is provided and how it is prepared. We have a team from the Process Management department who worked intensively, did training courses and did most of the data revision. We have the QC group doing the inspections, handling and interacting with it and then we have the 50 inspectors working with it on site. All those involved have to be coordinated in advance. Now everyone involved can access the same data status regardless of the location, without media breaks or manual transfers.
groupXS : Now that you have been using Reportheld for three years, have new digitization ideas emerged?
Heckler : We never run out of ideas and Reportheld has continued to grow with us over the past few years. We currently have 50 inspectors on duty with their respective devices. And this year we have set ourselves the goal of connecting our suppliers to the system in order to carry out their own inspections. Now that we have a well-thought-out and secure system that guides you through the inspection with instructions, we are starting with 20 suppliers who are also inspecting. This makes our work easier and also helps to bridge capacity bottlenecks. The vision is to add up to 100 suppliers in the future.
groupXS : We’re really glad. Do you have any final feedback for us?
Heckler : I am very satisfied with Reportheld. Especially because due to the time difference from China to Germany, we may need support outside of normal business hours. It happened then that we rang a colleague from groupXS in the middle of the night because we were stuck at one point. We also appreciate the fact that we have had a dedicated contact person in groupXS, Heiko Witthöft, since the beginning of our cooperation, who simply knows every detail in our joint project.
groupXS : Thank you very much for the feedback and of course for the great cooperation over the past few years.
The interview was conducted by Sebastian Schmidt and Caroline Bußmann